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Cyberspace is the Place

We said it, and we did it. All of us. We made it to the sweet spot of summer, and transitioned gracefully to brighter times and brighter weather.

We are meeting new friends this summer who lo and behold, share our passion and love for music. Our old friends are reaching new frontiers with their musicianship and being challenged to go even further by their muses and sparks of motivation.

We are really hyped to say that things are being taken to the next level, both IRL and on the interweb. The TIFEM Space Command is preparing to transmit a message that will improve efficiency and the enjoyment of your online TIFEM experience in an exciting and newfangled website launch.

Carefully and studiously crafted both to inspire good feelings through aesthetic and ease of use, the site will be launched next month and we want to be the first to welcome you to our improved cyber-locale.

We welcome your feedback, so feel free to holler back if you’d like to share your thoughts. We love compliments and we also aim to please.

Proceed to countdown.

Student Shout Outs - Jonah Bryson

TIFEM Student Shout Outs - Jonah Bryson

Jonah is an ambitious man with an infectious enthusiasm whose hard work has been inspiring us since his arrival at TIFEM.

More often than not, the lives and work of our students rouse our teachers into keeping the candle burning, and thus the cycle is perpetuated.

The case is so with Jonah, who is currently working on an independent film called A Sweet Spot in Time. The film is a documentary made to promote awareness about important environmental issues and has been submitted to both the Toronto International Film Festival and the Hollywood Film Festival.

Jonah has been resourceful enough to use the web to help him raise funding for his film and is quite close to meeting his goal. There are a few loose ends to be tied up in order to bring the film to completion including a Nashville recording session for the film's theme song.

Jonah has garnered the interest of some very talented musicians and songwriters who will be performing the song, including the members of the backup band who play for Taylor Swift!

Check out Jonah’s Indiegogo site here and read more about the project, see the trailer, and find out how you can support the arts in a most direct way.

Hanging with the Strings: Classical String Ensemble / World Fiddle Class

Hanging with the Strings: Classical String Ensemble / World Fiddle Class

Apparently, the string community of Queen West has been expanding exponentially in the past months. It seems like all of the cellists, violinists, people who play viola and players of the double bass have recently been popping out of the woodwork and showing up at our Adult String Ensemble.

Due to the massive popularity of the Adult String Ensemble we are now offering two nights of Group Classes for strings, instead of just one, and focusing on two diverse areas of music.

The Classical String Ensemble will now meet every Monday at 7pm and welcomes all levels of playing and technical ability. Led by Lea Kirstein, the ensembles aim is to bring people together to play music based on the philosophy that even small details within any piece of music can be most significant. No matter where you are on the journey, Lea will set you up with a meaningful part to play.

Wednesday evenings at 7pm are now host to the World Fiddle Class. The class is also tailored to any level of playing ability and focuses on a wide variety of fiddle melodies from all over the world.

The last Wednesday of each month is a Session Class where players get the opportunity to jam on their shared repertoire for the month.

All the finer details can be found on the TIFEM website, feel free to email or contact us with any questions.

Summer Incentives are Music to the Ears

Summer Incentives are Music to the Ears

FREE!!! Private Intro to the Ukulele Lesson with Every Purchase of a Ukulele in the Month of August.

All the mosquitos are starting to calm down and August becomes prime time to hit that cottage or take that tent and set up camp at one of the more remote and scenic destinations throughout the province, or beyond.

There are few greater venues to make music than amongst the trees, the mountains, or the water, and something as versatile, portable and fun as the ukulele is really the perfect companion.

Light on the travel, heavy on the musical possibilities, and easy on the mind and the fingers, the uke is truly for everyone to enjoy. The uke sounds great accompanied by the cracking of the fire, next to the rushing of a stream, even fits in a picnic basket for that afternoon at the park.

This month we are offering a FREE!! Private Intro to the Ukulele Lesson to anyone who purchases a ukulele at TIFEM for the month of August. Something to help kickstart your uke adventure or further your current path towards uke enlightenment.

We house an extensive selection of ukuleles, from hand crafted pieces to excellent inexpensive instruments. You can always feel free to come by and check them out if you’re in the neighborhood.

Play This Playlist: The Fire Playlist

TIFEM Play This Playlist: The Fire Playlist

If you can’t beat the heat, join it.

These songs are all about the opposite of air conditioning, ice cream and lemonade. In no particular order of thermometer reading.

01. Fire - Jimi Hendrix
02. She Was Hot - The Rolling Stones
03. Baby’s on Fire - Brian Eno
04. Burning Down the House - Talking Heads
05. Firestarter - The Prodigy
06. Fire - Prizna
07. Ritual Del Fuego - Manuel de Falla
08. The Firebird - Igor Stravinsky
09. Red Clay - Freddie Hubbard
10. Hot Pants - James Brown

It’s Up For Interpretation: Summertime Blues

TIFEM It's Up For Interpretation: Summertime Blues

In this series we examine how one piece of music can be so differently re-interpreted from artist to artist, as new parameters in musical approach, orientation and instrumentation are introduced and imposed.

Basically the Summertime Blues seems to be an affliction that has no known cure. Some symptoms that characterize this condition are having no money, no car and being too young to do much about it. At the end of almost six decades since Eddie Cochran’s original 1958 version came out the Summertime Blues has affected many generations of teenagers and the end doesn’t look to be anywhere in sight.

Proof positive that this particular type of blues has been somewhat of an epidemic is the fact that many times since ‘58, the song has been covered and has resonated with a different era of teenage angst.

Cochran’s version has only a foreshadowing of some of the grit that would be found on future recordings of the song, with his raspy voice providing a balanced aesthetic against the backdrop of squeaky clean acoustic guitar. Overall this is a song about frustration and Cochran does a good job of delivering about as much angst as the airwaves of the day would allow.


Blue Cheers’ version of the song was updated for the late 1960’s psychedelic era. The band played heavy and loud, possibly THE heaviest band of that time. The entire track is drenched with righteous distortion and the musical hook in the song is played by both the bass and guitar players, in single notes as opposed to the chorded version in the original.


The Who’s version of Summertime Blues can be found on their 1970 album, Live at Leeds. What’s distinctive about this version is the newly interpreted version of the main instrumental hook of the song by Pete Townshend. Townshend spins the riff into a sort of triplet feel but retains the meat and power of the Blue Cheer track.


While every effort should indeed be made to rid the world of this terrible phenomenon, we are secretly hoping that future generations succomb to the Summertime Blues and  its clutches, to help incite more versions of this timeless classic.

Does Humour Belong in Music?

Does Humour Belong in Music?

Music is often looked upon as a serious, and studious art form that inspires feelings of joy, melancholy, comfort, or even jarring uneasiness.

But what about humour?

Music can make us laugh as well. Everything from out and out goofiness to tongue in cheek sentiments, irony or self deprecating lyrics can be found in just about every genre of music. Sometimes the cues for laughter are more obvious than others, and in this feature, we will examine a few pieces of music that are meant to oscillate with the funny bone.

1. Eat It-Weird Al Yankovic

This 1984 release was a parody of the song, Beat It by Michael Jackson and earned Yankovic, a pop culture genius in his own right, a grammy award for Best Comedy Recording.

Even MJ himself thought the tune was amusing. Prior to the recording of the track, Al approached the King of Pop and received his blessing.

A shot for shot parody of the video was released to accompany the track and features some golden opportunities to chuckle, such as two gang members fighting with forks and spoons, later battling over a rubber chicken.


2. Valley Girl-Frank Zappa

Zappa has long since been linking humour and music together, and 1982’s Valley Girl was par for the course.

This particular song was a satire of the Valley Girl, a comical portrait of a spoiled rich girl from the suburbs of Los Angeles and featured Moon Unit Zappa, FZ’s own daughter on vocals.

The track was Zappa’s only top 40 US song and features a cross section of the typical valley vernacular. Describing clothes as bitchin’, expressing distaste by exclaiming, “Barf Out!” or “Grody!” and peppering the track with a helping of OMGs when they were still “Oh my God!”s, helps us examine the creature that is the Valley Girl from a distance.


3. Satan Gave Me a Taco-Beck

From Beck’s 1994 album of quirky four track recordings, Satan Gave Me a Taco is a satire of the rock n’ roll lifestyle , told through the eyes of a unknowing subject who accidentally eats a taco that makes him lose his mind.

Eventually, after being thrown in jail for freaking out an old lady, the song’s main character finds himself in a courtroom rock video and suffers through all of the perils of the rock star existence.

Other than being just purely funny, the song remains a statement about the paradigm shift that occurred in the late 80’s, to early 90’s, where “some guy with a microphone, running around dancing in tights”, was beginning to fall out of fashion.